06 January 2015

As the New Year begins, many of us are creating the perfect New Year’s resolutions for 2015. For many patients the resolution to start building a family is probably number one on the list.

However, the most important part of that resolution is to make sure that your mind and body are prepared for the journey before starting your infertility treatments and getting pregnant. Here are a few simple tips, maybe even a resolution or two, to help along the way:

Track your periods and understand when in the cycle you are ovulating: It’s worth knowing when your fertile period is. Generally speaking you ovulate around 14 days before the first day of your next period. So if your cycle is the classic 28 days (i.e. 28 days from the first day of one period until the first day of the next period) then it is likely that you will ovulate on day 14 (with day one being counted as the first day of your period). If your cycle is longer, say 32 days, your ovulation will probably be more like day 18 (still 14 days before the next period). If your cycle is shorter, say 24 days, then ovulation is more likely to be day 10. Obviously you could just have sex every two to three days regardless but you should certainly at least try to have sex around the time of ovulation each month.

Get to know what is going on with his health: When facing fertility problems, many people automatically assume it is the woman who is responsible for not being able to conceive. The woman’s health is not the only piece to the fertility puzzle. A man’s health can affect the fertility process just as much as a woman’s health. There are a variety of conditions that can affect male fertility, such as poor testosterone levels, physical defects, hormonal imbalance, problems with ejaculation, etc. It is important for couples who are having problems with conception to schedule a medical exam for both the man and the woman.

Take a prenatal vitamin supplement every day: It is vital for both you and your partner to take a quality vitamin supplement daily. It is also very important to take the appropriate amount of folic acid daily to decrease the chances of your baby developing a neural tube defect. At Medfem Fertility Clinic we recommend taking both StaminoGro and Comega Vite. Both supplements have been proven to increase fertility in men and women and it is recommended that the woman continue with these until twelve weeks of pregnancy. For more information on these products visit http://www.medfem.co.za/recommended-supplements

Get intimate with your partner: This may seem like a no brainer, but sometimes all the stresses of constantly thinking about getting pregnant can cause you to neglect your bedroom time. Regular sex can be a great stress reliever and it can also help your ovulation cycles to stay regulated. Also chances of conception rise from 15% for couples having sex once a week to 50% for couples having sex three to four times a week. Sex keeps sperm healthy. Its quality falls if it’s retained in the body for more than a few days.

Make an appointment with a fertility specialist to discuss how to overcome infertility: If you have been trying to conceive for at least one year (or at least six months if you are older than 35), it’s time to seek help from an expert. There is always a reason as to why you have not been able to conceive – it’s a matter of finding out what that problem is. At Medfem Fertility Clinic the specialists have one goal in mind; helping you get pregnant. Visit our website http://www.medfem.co.za/where-to-start to find a host of information on how to get started, how you can prepare and the various tests and treatments available.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight: Research has shown that one of the greatest factors of infertility is weight – this is true for both under and overweight individuals. If you are not at a healthy weight for your height and body type it can affect periods, ovulation and cause many other health conditions. Obesity can also lead to the excessive production of certain hormones such as insulin and estrogen, which can prevent the ovary from ovulating an egg. So, if you are obese, you are likely not ovulating. And, if you aren’t ovulating regularly, then your chance of conceiving is very low. Luckily, losing just 5 to 10% of your overall body weight can lead to a dramatic positive impact on your fertility. Some women can start ovulating by losing just two kilograms; others menstruate by gaining two kilograms (being underweight could mean that you have stopped ovulating entirely). In addition weight related health conditions are often exacerbated during pregnancy and can involve life threatening risks to you and your child. Having a routine workout schedule and healthy eating regime can help you stay in shape and increase the possibility of getting pregnant.

Avoid the bad stuff: Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes are big no-no’s for couples trying to get pregnant. All affect the quality of eggs, the ability to conceive, as well as decrease sperm viability, motility and concentration. It is also best to avoid caffeinated drinks as well as herbal remedies. Many over-the-counter products that are marketed as fertility boosters have not been tested and approved by the relevant health authorities and can in fact counteract with your specialist prescribed fertility medication. Why spend all that money on fertility treatments to offset the effects by using potentially harmful products! Avoiding all of these will not only increase your fertility but also your overall health.

Manage stress: Trying to get pregnant can always be stressful, especially for those undergoing fertility treatments. If you can figure out ways to manage your stress it can lead to an increased chance of getting pregnant. The mind-body connection to your fertility has been studied and researched extensively and many experts agree that engaging in regular stress reduction while trying to conceive may actually boost your chances of getting pregnant. Taking ten minutes out of every day to just centre, focus and calm your mind will do wonders for your overall spirit and mood as you work towards getting pregnant. Consider counselling, meditation, yoga or even just going for a walk. For more information visit http://www.medfem.co.za/treatments/counselling-support and http://www.tups.co/pdf/fbs_book.pdf

Eat a balanced diet: Be sure to include plenty of proteins and vitamins in your diet. Including lots of good proteins, vegetables and fruits will help you stay healthy and strengthen the immune system. Staying well hydrated is equally important when trying to conceive. Drinking plenty of water every day will help to flush toxins out of the body, improving your overall health and thereby increasing your chances of successfully conceiving. Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards and chard are full of fertility boosting vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, iron and folic acid. Iron deficiencies have been associated with fertility issues, and folic acid and calcium are both important for pregnancy health in addition to helping out your fertility.

Get enough sleep: Ensuring you both get enough sleep may be important when you are trying to boost your fertility. You should both aim to get at least seven to eight hours sleep a night.

Resolve to never lose hope that you will get pregnant: Trying to get pregnant can produce overwhelming sadness and stress. Sometimes, you may feel like the easiest path to take is to stop infertility treatments and walk away. Resolve to rise above those emotions. Our end goal always matches yours: To make your dreams of creating a family come true. So don’t give up, even in the face of disappointment. No matter the situation, there’s always hope!

Decide right here and now that 2015 is the year you’re going to make yourself healthier, both mentally and physically, and hopefully beat infertility. You have 12 whole months to work on it!

The doctors and staff at Medfem Fertility Clinic wish you a Happy New Year! May all your resolutions come to fruition!


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